It was a long time coming, but Rion Brown finally got a chance to play college basketball in front of his hometown fans. He was thrilled to get the chance. A chance his coaches were thrilled to give him. "We scheduled this game, specifically because we like to take our players back to their hometown whenever possible in the non conference." says Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Jim Larranaga. "We have some seniors from North Carolina, so they get the chance to go back during conference play."
Rion is grateful "definitely exciting to be able to come home and play in front of family and friends. Just like old times." he says.
Rion is one month into to his senior season at Miami. He's seen a great amount of playing time to this point, but now, his role is larger. Last year's Miami team with to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with a lot of star power. Rions contribution while significant was as more of a supporting role.
This year things are different. This Hurricanes team is much younger by comparison and coach Larannaga looks to Rion to take the reins in a leadership role. "Right now as a Senior he's got a very young and inexperienced group around him. " Says Larranaga. So it's a lot more challenging to him and his teammates to play as well this early in the season."
"We've got a lot of new guys. We lost 5 seniors and then of course Shane Larkin as the 6th player. We're just working on team chemistry Working on getting on the same page." says Rion.
He's made the most of his time as well. Leads the team with just over 13 points per game. He's played the most minutes of any Hurricane this season so far. He's played in every game so far. And how well Miami does this year will rest squarely on the shoulders of Rion Brown.
"Definitely." He says with a smile "I think I've played the most games here or more than all these guys combined at t his point. Definitely gotta be a leader out there. Try to help them as best I can."
He had 57 people on the ticket list at Tiger Arena as the pride of Hinesville made his return. 13 points in his effort...and a load of smiles.